Mosquito in Upper Saucon Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

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mosquito west nile virus

A common mosquito (Culex pipiens). FILE PHOTO

A mosquito that was captured as a sample insect in Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County, tested positive for the disease July 26, according to the Pennsylvania West Nile Virus Control Program website, which monitors the spread of the disease in the state each summer.

So far this summer mosquitoes found to be carrying the virus have also been identified in the nearby municipalities of Bethlehem, Quakertown borough and Wilson borough.

mosquito west nile virus

A common mosquito (Culex pipiens). FILE PHOTO

The Program doesn’t identify specific locations where the samples were collected within each municipality.

Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in all but a handful of northern-tier and western Pennsylvania counties this year, but so far only one human case of the virus–in an Allegheny County man–has been confirmed in the state.

The virus can cause a variety of symptoms in humans, including headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash, although most infected people (about 80 percent) do not develop any symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In rare cases, West Nile virus can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord).

The CDC recommends using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to help avoid contact with mosquitoes which could be carrying the virus.

Find tips here about what kinds of repellent to use and how to apply it.

The CDC also recommends adopting the following measures to help control the mosquito population in and around your home:

  • Use screens on windows and doors, and repair holes in screens to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use air conditioning when available.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if you are sleeping outdoors.
  • Mosquitoes lay eggs near water. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold standing water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots and trash containers.

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